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Florida officials declare Hepatitis A emergency

ORLANDO, Fla. — Florida officials have declared a public health emergency to help deal with a rise in Hepatitis A cases.

New outlets report that Florida Surgeon General Scott Rivkees declared the emergency Thursday to alert the public about the seriousness of the illness and to allow greater testing and treatment.

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There have been 2,034 cases of Hepatitis A in Florida since the beginning of the year. By comparison, there were 548 cases last year and 276 cases in 2017.

Hepatitis A is caused by a virus that infects the liver and it's spread through the feces of those who are infected. It is often spread when infected people don't wash their hands after going to the bathroom since the feces can be transferred to food, drinks and objects.

The illness' spread can be prevented through vaccination.